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The Telegraph

Barratt reports surge in demand for homes after lockdown

The UK’s largest housebuilder has reported a surge in demand for new homes post-lockdown but scrapped its special dividend for 2021. Barratt Developments said it would withdraw the £175m payout, which would have been paid in November 2021, given the “unprecedented” impact of coronavirus. Pre-tax profits plunged 46pc to £491.8m for the year to the end of June, affected by the closure of building sites and the suspension of the housing market at the height of the lockdown between March and June. Revenues slumped by more than a quarter to £3.4bn, while it built 12,604 homes during the year, compared to 17,856 the year before. However the FTSE 100 company, led by David Thomas, reported an upbeat outlook, saying forward sales and home completion volumes for the eight weeks to Aug 23 were “encouraging” and ahead of last year. Completion volumes for the period increased 62pc to 1,439 homes, while total forward sales, including joint ventures, stood at 15,660 homes, valued at £3.7bn. Barratt said increased activity levels were driven by a combination of pent-up demand, a holiday on stamp duty and buyers trying to get ahead of the looming restrictions to the Government subsidy scheme Help to Buy. However, chairman John Allan warned of a reduction in high loan-to-value mortgage lending, which might restrict access to the housing ladder. “This has arisen post Covid-19 and reflects a response to a perceived increase in risk and high levels of demand,” he said. “The restriction and removal of Help to Buy will exacerbate this. It is important that lenders and the Government consider what further options are available to help potential first-time buyers who want to purchase their own home.”

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Author: HOCAdmin